Massachusetts State District Court Arrests by ICE – October 6, 2017

In the past few weeks Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been arresting aliens as they are released or exiting District Court buildings. No one really knows why this is happening now. It might be a new computer resource coming on-line, it might be a response to Lunn v. Commonwealth, trying to demonstrate that ICE’s power is stronger than the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, no one really knows. The one thing that is clear is that it increases the pressure on those present in the US without authorization when they have to appear as a defendant in a criminal matter, no matter how minor.
Many minor crimes – driving with no license for example – usually end with a fine or a payment of court costs. The presence of ICE ready to arrest the alien on immigration matters make a routine court appearance very high stakes indeed. For those who have no plan or available immigration relief, it will likely end with deportation to their home country.
A plan is sometimes possible based on long term presence in the United States coupled with a wife or child who is a US Citizen or Permanent Resident. Sometimes a reasonable and well-founded fear of return to one’s home country is a possible ground for relief. There are a few other bases of relief to stay in the United States. The most important thing is to start planning now! Make an appointment with a licensed attorney and build a relationship now!

DHS testifies to Trump immigration agenda 03-Oct-2017

Michael Dougherty of the US DHS testified at a Senate hearing. During his testimony, in addition to setting out Trump administration support for status that would lead to eventual citizenship for DACA and other childhood arrivals (later walked back), Below is a quote from his testimony which seems insightful as to the Administration immigration agenda:

During the hearing, Dougherty said the administration’s immigration priorities include border control, better vetting, reducing visa overstays, reforming non-immigrant business visas and establishing a merit-based system that favors skilled immigrants. He said the administration also wants to expand its ability to quickly remove people who enter illegally and do not claim asylum.

Reuters, Yeganeh Torbati and Richard Cowan, 03-Oct-2017,
https://www.google.com/amp/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN1C82DV

Again, it is very clear that those with a problematic status in the United States, should seek licensed legal counsel to establish a plan which will advance their goals.
Tom

The Death of DACA — What Next? 09/05/2017

Well, he did it.

DACA is going to fade away across the next maybe 30 months.
Read together, the Press Release Press Release_DACA_Sept 5 17 (1) and Memorandum on Rescission Of DACA _ Homeland Security   say it is over. They also say it is going to be a long good bye.

As of Today: 09/05/2017
No more initial requests for DACA.
No more Advance Parole for those with DACA. Pending AP applications will be administratively closed and fees refunded.

The applications that are pending for initial grant, as of today (09/05/2017), will be adjudicated.

For the next 6 months, until March 5, 2018, renewals will be adjudicated. Pending initial applications and renewals that are granted will apparently be good for the full 2 years of protection against removal. So the final renewals will not expire for up to 30 months from today.
Current DACA recipients, and those with pending renewal applications will have 6-30 months to explore other forms of relief from removal for which they may be eligible. The time to start planning for life after DACA is now.

I will try and update this item as more information becomes available.

More Interviews – USCIS News 08/26/2017

USCIS will begin to interview some classes of immigrants where, as a rule, the interviews were previously waived.

It appears that Asylees, Refugee Family Members will now require interviews before getting a their green card.
Those requiring interviews will include Employment Visa holders seeking to adjust.

There is not a release of source documents for the new policy and the news articles seem to diverge in their limits. As an example, it appears that those seeking to “update” their visa may require a interview. Updating may include COS (Change of Status) applications of other routine updates.
Not mentioned was if there would be additional interviews for Fiance (K-1) visa Adjustments.

The News Stories can be found at:
http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/25/trump-administration-green-card-hurdle-242050
and
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/amp/dhs-require-interviews-more-100-000-visa-holders-n796126

Visa Suspension – What does it mean for Cambodians?

The Department of Homeland Security has started the process for suspending the issuance of visas to citizens and nationals of 4 countries, including Cambodia. A rarely used law, section 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, authorizes the Secretary of State to suspend the issuance of visas to citizens of countries which refuse to accept returning citizens of that country who were ordered deported.

Under INA Section 243(d), the process begins with the Secretary of Homeland Security notifying the Secretary of State that a particular country has refused to accept its citizens who have been ordered deported.  The Secretary of State then begins the process for suspending visa issuance.  The law gives the Secretary of State discretion on how to implement the suspension. The Secretary may suspend issuance of immigrant visas (visas to come to the U.S. as a permanent resident), or non-immigrant visas (visas to come to the U.S. temporarily, such as student visas, business visas or visitor’s visas) or both.

The suspension does not take place immediately.  “We follow a standard process to implement a visa suspension as expeditiously as possible in the manner the Secretary determines most appropriate under the circumstances to achieve the desired goal,” the State Department said in a statement. “That process includes internal discussions with, and official notification to, affected countries. We are not going to get ahead of that process.” During any period that visa issuance is suspended, the consular posts in the affected countries should continue to receive cases, and to adjudicate cases.  Consular officers will explain the suspension of issuance to the applicants.  Visa fees will not be refunded.  Once the suspension is lifted, cases that were approved will be reviewed again to ensure the applicant is still eligible for the visa.

This law has only been used twice.  In 2001, it was used against Guyana and in 2016 it was used against The Gambia.  In both cases, the Secretary of State decided to suspend only the issuance of visas to officials of the government in question and their familiesImmigrant and non-immigrant visas for ordinary citizens of the countries were not affected. The Secretary of State has given no indication as to how he intends to implement the law against the 4 countries who are the subject of the current DHS request.

I-9 and False Claims of U.S. Citizenship

For many years now, employers have been required to have the new employee provide proof of lawful employability after the commencement of employment. A Green Card, an EAD (Work Card) an I-94 showing Asylum or Refugee status are just a few ways an alien can prove they can work lawfully. Anyone with a  U.S. Drivers License and an Unrestricted Social Security card can successfully claim that they are authorized to work in the United States.

There have been rumors and information in the alien community for many years that one of the easy ways to work was to claim to be a U.S. Citizen and present a Social Security Card and a Drivers License. In years past, there have been may social security cards issued to aliens and many drivers licenses issued. I assume that many have done this to be able to work in the United States.

Since the 1990s, making a claim of U.S.  Citizenship to gain an immigration benefit has been an offense that makes you Deportable[1] and Inadmissible[2] for life.[3] There are many ways to be lawfully employed in the United States and the requirements are covered in the M-374 which is available on the USCIS web site.

If you are faced with producing an I-9 for USCIS or being denied a benefit, please consider talking to legal counsel before supplying it.  But remember, in today’s environment, many employers will give out even the most private employee information to someone from USCIS on the telephone.

[1] Deportable under INA § 237(a)(3)(D).

[2] Inadmissible under INA § 212(a)(6)(C)(ii).

[3] Some narrow exceptions were added in 2000.

Is it Propaganda? 26-Dec-2016

I expect  many of you do not know as you sit at your breakfast table[1] with your I-Phone, LG or Moto, I’ve got some news for you:

            You are a separate market that gets a filtered news or information.

Part of our law firm advertising program is using the internet. We design our own websites. For a long time, we have known that our Mobile product is entirely different from our Desktop and Tablet product. We make sure that the mobile (cell phone version) works well. We do little but accomodate the small screen.

What I noticed recently, with some discomfort, was that the Immigration News and Reference Materials available to me on the net were different depending on the device I was using. Whether that is using a bt.ly link to disguise the lack of legitimacy of a source or just saying different things to different groups based on device use is concerning.

[1] Or on the train, or in McDonalds or . . .

OUR NEW PRESIDENT – WHAT WILL HE DO ON IMMIGRATION? #2

OUR NEW PRESIDENT – WHAT WILL HE DO ON IMMIGRATION? #2

VOA (Voice of America) reports that in an interview Trump Advisory Counsel Member Luis Quinones says there will be a softer stand for those who are of the American Spirit:

VOA:                        There are rumors of mass deportations, kids are scared, mothers are scared.

Quinones:             They are lies. The president-elect asked us to be in a conference call he said, “Tell them there won’t be mass deportations.” The criminals will be deported. We will also deport those who abuse their tourist visa. If you stay here and pay taxes and Social Security and you are building a retirement, we will smooth the process to allow them to be part of the labor force. If you commit a crime, you will be in a database and we will find you.

VOA November 18, 2016.

While the above is old, we have not seen any retrenchment from this position. We spoke of who should be most concerned in our prior post, this adds some more definition and makes clear, postorder, preorder or as a visitor overstay, criminal behavior will be a problem

A politician’s promise is like a used car saying the car he is trying to sell you is the best in the world.

For those who are not inured in the life cycle of a Presidential Candidate to a President, the one thing that can be counted on is the Promises and Positions of the campaign are always forgotten after the presidential candidate becomes President. The one that comes immediately to mind is Republican George Herbert Walker Bush promise “Read my lips: No new taxes.” One would presume the reality of running the government brought about the change to being a tax and spend Republican.

The more telling stand change was Republican president Ronald Regan (perhaps better known as a union buster ) cut taxes his first term. Then, after his second term was won, by sophisticated changes in tax laws and regulations, raised taxes a lot. Perhaps again a dose of reality catching up with the empty promises.

Trump

President elect Trump made a lot of promises during his campaign. The ones that most concern my immigrant clients is those that promise to send home those who do not have legal status. With today’s president elect’s immigration policy, it is likely to be the same. You can not, under the present structure, send home between 2,000,000 and 30,000,000 people quickly, if at all. That may not be the end of it though.

Who Runs Our Immigration System?

Day to day control of the Immigration System is most effected by the Attorney General. (Ignoring the Secretary of DHS and the Director of USCSI) The Attorney General’s actions do not have an immediate check and balance as the other actions of the  President do — he can pretty much just do it.

President Elect Trump has nominated Senator (R-AL) Jeff Session to be Attorney General. As Mr. Sessions is a senator, we see little chance his nomination will be blocked. Because of the Attorney Generals control over the official interpretation of Law in the immigration field (remembering Chevron) he is a powerful actor in Immigration.

Ranking of Risk – my opinion only

  • Final Order based on serious criminal act
  • Final Order based on less serious criminal act – Assault, Intoxicated Driving etc.
  • Final Order , subsequent criminal act
  • Criminal act (new in list)
  • Final Order
  • Final Order with proven relief or really good equities

Conclusion and Recommendation

If you do not have a Permanent, secure, status in the United States, you should be concerned. You should, not later, but today, start taking steps to have a more secure position.

Reflect on time being a valuable resource. It takes time to put any plan in place. If your attitude is I will wait, what will you do if you are still waiting and are involved in a Traffic Stop? A workplace visit? Someone looking for someone else but finds you? You may not have time then

Time is an asset, you should visit with an immigration professional and check out your options before it is too late!

Tom

 

Our New President – What will he do on Immigration? #1

Our New President – What will he do on Immigration? #1

We have all heard the rallying cry of “send them all home,” but as a practical matter, this just can not be done. Whether you believe that are 11,000,000 or as some have said, 30,000,000 this is not an easy project, and it is an act that will have a profound negative effect on our economy. So, it is my opinion that “Send them all home!” has about as much meaning as a reality TV star saying “your fired!”

General Advice

If you have an Immigration Problem, you need a plan and some available relief. While it is not possible to give good and specific advice in a writing like this, here are a few hints which are applicable to almost all who have Immigration trouble.

You need Available Relief

Things that will help

  • Citizen or Permanent Resident Spouse will help
  • Equities (things that make you look more valuable) stuff will help – children, public service, church, temple or mosque participation. And US Born Children.
  • Lack of recent criminal activity coupled with evidence of rehabilitation
  • Paying US Taxes (if you are being paid cash, you can still and are required to pay taxes)

If you do not have any relief available and your only reason to be here is you like it, you should be concerned.

Final Order Aliens

If you have been to Immigration Court and have been ordered deported (removed) and your removal has either not been appealed or has been affirmed by the BIA, you are a final order person. There are many many final order persons in the United States. Immigration telling them to leave does not equate to the final order person being gone.

The foremost tool to urge folks to leave is disinformation and misinformation including threats. When a person voluntarily leaves, it costs the government nothing, so there is an incentive for the governments urge this action.

Reasonable Fear

If you come from a country where you will face harm, not just poverty or discomfort, but harm, you are not likely to be removed. You have to say something and under present policy, you will be given a reasonable fear interview.  The United States does not send folks back to face death because of Religion, Political Opinion, Ethnicity, National Origin or Social Group. Even if you have failed at Political Asylum, if you still have a reasonable fear, you should try.

Ranking of Risk – my opinion only

  • Final Order based on serious criminal act
  • Final Order based on less serious criminal act – Assault, Intoxicated Driving etc.
  • Final Order , subsequent criminal act
  • Final Order
  • Final Order with proven relief or really good equities

What About Trump’s day 1 promise to remove 2-3 M?

Trump has said he will remove 2,000,000 to 3,000,000 criminal aliens on his first day.  To get this number, he likely has counted every alien with or without a final order who has any criminal history. TRAC (Transnational Records Access Clearinghouse) that there are only about 174,000 criminal deportees (those with final orders) – this is the top two categories above. All without Final Orders who are not arriving aliens will be entitled to our Statutorily and Constitutionally (5th Amendment) provided due process. Due today means months if not years of litigation, if there is any relief available – no quick trip to the airplane.

 

Conclusion and Recommendation

If you do not have a Permanent, secure, status in the United States, you should be concerned. You should, not later, but today, start taking steps to have a more secure position.

Reflect on time being a valuable resource. It takes time to put any plan in place. If your attitude is I will wait, what will you do if you are still waiting and are involved in a Traffic Stop? A workplace visit? Someone looking for someone else but finds you? You may not have time then

Time is an asset, you should visit with an immigration professional and check out your options before it is too late!

Tom

The Law Man